Honey is no longer a generic product on the shelf. Unique colours, flavours, and the terroir of the varietal make it a highly sought-after ingredient in high-end dishes.
Faithful to Flowers
When bees go out to gather pollen, they have a very specific method of doing it. They adhere to flower fidelity, which means they only go to one type of flower per visit. “This is one reason that humans are able to harvest single-flower honeys,” says Patty Milligan a.k.a. Lola Canola, a local former beekeeper who now runs honey tastings and beekeeping workshops in the city.
Birds and the Bees: Honey Pairings
Buckwheat honey is strong and would be nice with a mild cheese, says Milligan.
Honeys with delicate flavours — like acacia, linden, raspberry, fireweed — work well with a fruit or drizzled on ice cream.
Buckwheat lends a molasses taste to baking. Milligan also suggests a standard multi-flower Alberta honey for baking. “If you are going to spend money on a varietal, you’re not going to want to bury it with too many other flavours,” Milligan says.
Hive to Plate
Chef Andrew Fung from Nineteen has used honey in many dishes, ranging from pannacotta to a dressing for quinoa salad. “I especially like honey as a glaze. White meats that don’t have a strong flavour work well because the glaze helps to draw out the texture and the taste,” says Fung.
How Sweet It Is
Humans have been harvesting honey for about 10,000 years.
Bees can take up to 25 flights in a day and visit up to 5,000 flowers.
On a flight, bees might venture as far as four kilometres from the hive.
Recipe by Paz Walton
1 chicken (any pieces)
3 tbsp coffee beans, ground very fine
1.5-2 tbsp buckwheat honey
3-4 tbsps water to make a paste
dash of olive oil
dash of chili powder
dash of salt
Mix ingredients for the rub thoroughly until it’s a paste. Rub all over the chicken and place pieces in the fridge for about an hour. Turn it over after half an hour.
Fry it at medium heat with a bit of olive oil. After the chicken is browned, add a bit of water, then cover in order to cook thoroughly (about 20 minutes).